From day one, Top Rank promoter Bob Arum had an agenda when it came to making Manny Pacquiao's next fight. He wanted to match him with Shane Mosley, and that is what he did, and he doesn't give a damn what anyone thinks.
He knows Mosley is an aging fighter who doesn't have a great chance to win, but he has a big name that general sports fans recognize, even if they don't realize he is not the same Shane Mosley of just a few years ago.
Arum doesn't care. He only wants to do what is best for himself, certainly not for boxing. He is going to put Mosley in the ring with Pacquiao soley because of name. It's a move that will squeeze out the last gasps of Mosley's once-outstanding career so Arum can generate another big payday while doing a disservice to real boxing fans who actually care about the matchups and not just a famous but faded name.
Forget all the nonsense we've heard since Pacquiao beat down Antonio Margarito, about how Pacquiao's next opponent was going to come from a list of Mosley, Juan Manuel Marquez and Andre Berto.
The real list was more like Mosley, Mosley and Mosley. But Arum had to include a couple of other names so he could leverage Mosley into believing it was a competition and, therefore, drive down his price. Mosley is desperate for the fight after being beaten almost as badly in his recent divorce settlement as he will be by Pacquiao, who should have put his foot down and demanded a better fight. Make no mistake: Pacquiao is culpable here, too.
Arum knows this business as well as anyone and knows how to play people. He played this one to the hilt, talking about how he was going to solicit term sheets from each of the three potential opponents and then bring them with him to the Philippines for a meeting with Pacquiao to go over the offers.
Before leaving, Arum declared that it would be Pacquiao who would make the decision, not him. Arum, a master manipulator, collected the term sheets, went to the Philippines and did sit down with Pacquiao, but he had his own agenda the entire time. Arum wanted Mosley even though (or, rather, because) Mosley looked like an old man in his past two fights. He is 39 and couldn't pull the trigger at all against Floyd Mayweather Jr. in an embarrassingly one-sided decision loss in their May fight. He hurt Mayweather in the second round and never threw or landed another meaningful punch the rest of the fight. In September, Mosley fought to a putrid draw against Sergio Mora, an opponent a younger Mosley would have pummeled into submission with ease.
A one-sided loss and a draw in an awful fight is not supposed to be how you land a fight with the pound-for-pound king and the sport's most popular fighter.
Remember, in the immediate aftermath of the eyesore draw, Arum concurred. He said he wasn't interested in matching Mosley with Pacquiao because of how bad he looked against Mora and because he was almost 40. But that, of course, was when Mosley was still with Golden Boy Promotions, Top Rank's bitter rival.
Now that Mosley has declared himself free from Golden Boy and negotiated the deal directly with Arum, he's just perfect for the fight.
This should not shock anyone because apparently, as Arum once famously said, yesterday he was lying but today he is telling the truth, about whom he wanted Pacquiao to fight.
Arum even had the audacity to suggest that a way to sell the fight was based on the fact that Mosley is black, because some of boxing's lunatic fringe have been critical of Pacquiao for not facing any African-American opponents. Never mind, of course, that when Pacquiao was tearing it up from flyweight to junior welterweight, there weren't really any top contenders or name opponents who were black. And keep in mind that the No.1 black fighter, Mayweather, doesn't seem to want any part of Pacquiao. But why let a good storyline get in the way of reality, right?
I almost can see the way the conversation Arum had with Pacquiao went down in the Philippines last week when Arum presented Pacquiao with the three term sheets, knowing all along he wasn't going to take anyone but Mosley.
Pacquiao: I think I'd like to fight Marquez.
Arum: Did you say Mosley?
Pacquiao: No, Marquez. We have unfinished business and we had two great fights.
Arum: Did you say Mosley, or did I hear you say Miguel Cotto for a rematch?
Pacquiao: Well, maybe Berto. He's a good, young fighter. He's very fast.
Arum: Mosley, that's what I thought you said.
Pacquiao: Bob, I think I definitely want the third fight with Marquez. That's what my coach, Freddie Roach, wants. That's what the fans want. That's what I want.
Arum: So if it's the fight with Mosley you want, then the fight with Mosley it shall be.
Pacquiao: Lock up Marquez, please. Let's get it done.
Arum: Fine, we'll get Mosley, whatever you say. You're the boss. Someone get me James Prince on the phone so we can lock this up.
While Arum was getting Mosley and his adviser, Prince, on the phone, boxing fans around the world were reaching for a barf bag.